The objective of this paper is to study and report upon the elaboration of a selective waste collection program in a Brazilian city through action research; the overarching goal is that all knowledge generated may serve as a basis of information and reference to aid in decision making for similar programs globally. The municipality chosen was São Lourenço in the state of Minas Gerais. The implementation of the selective waste collection program happened over the course of multiple improvement and learning cycles, and enabled many environmental, economic and social benefits for all of the project’s stakeholders. Eighty-nine tons of potentially recycled material were sent to recycling processes rather than being disposed of in a landfill. No great difficulties were observed for the use of action research as a method, but some challenges were encountered and overcome during the whole process, due to the lack of structure and confidence on part of the population, in relation to the selective collection program. The choice for action research as the methodology and the use of improvement and learning cycles proved to increase the project’s overall efficiency, making it possible to make decisions more quickly, generating better results, and enabling replications of good decisions and correction of errors from one cycle to the next.
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